Feeds

Project Loon won't blind radio telescopes

Google notices astronomy

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Register is pleased to reveal that Google has heard of radio-astronomy, and will work with astronomers to avoid flashing its broadband balloon radios in their sky-eyes.

Project Loon is an ambitious plan to attach 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio sets to meteorological-style balloons, lifting the transceivers above air traffic lanes and using high-altitude air currents for steering. The radios should be recoverable when the balloons return to the ground to help keep the project costs down.

However, some of the frequencies of interest to Google are also of interest to the kinds of people who are trying to find the earliest proto-galaxies, the source of all life and the reason Americans paint their barns red (courtesy of The Smithsonian, here).

If someone carelessly sprays broadband radio frequencies over those that the radio-astronomers are trying to observe – including the 2.4 GHz spectrum – observations aren't useful. You can't see a distant galaxy whose emissions, when they reach Earth, give off less electricity than a mosquito's, if there's a transmitter shouting in your field of vision.

Although The Register's hasn't heard from Google, we're pleased to say that the Chocolate Factory wants to try and work out a solution to the problem.

A Google engineer has made contact with Dr Brad Tucker, who first alerted The Register to the problem, saying the engineers are “slightly horrified by the possibility that we might be disrupting science”.

With a little collaboration, Google will be able to identify locations where Loon balloons might interfere with radio astronomy, and shut the radios down until they're out of range.

Certainly that's the kind of outcome Dr Tucker hopes for. He told The Register most astronomers would hope to see Project Loon succeed, and that it's certainly possible "for us all to play nice together."

The Register offered Google the opportunity to comment directly. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.